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Noland Divide hike — rhododendron in bloom

July 27, 2019

GSMNP Rosebay rhododendron

The July Classic Hike of the Smokies was led by Beth Ransom. Beth joined FOTS when she began hiking GSMNP trails, after she completed the Carolina Mountain Club’s Pisgah 400 (hiking all 400 miles of trails in the Pisgah Ranger District) and South Beyond 6000 (40 selected southeastern 6,000-foot peaks). Here’s her update on the hike.

by Beth Ransom

The July 9 hike was short — an out-and-back (OAB) on Noland Divide from Clingmans Dome Road.

We were lucky with the weather and had a cooler, cloudy day.

We did spot a couple of blue-bead lilies that had a blue bead or two — a little early yet for more blue.

The most enjoyable part of the hike were the rhododendrons in bloom.  They put on quite the show for us!

The trail was lovely and the company of nine hikers was most enjoyable.

FOTS hiking group - Noland Divide

FOTS hikers for the July Classic Hike of the Smokies.

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Photos by Beth Ransom, Jason Burton and Marielle DeJong.

The Classic Hikes of the Smokies are the second Tuesday of the month through December. Each Classic Hike is $20 for FOTS members and $35 for new and renewing members, which includes a one-year membership. 

The August Classic Hike of the Smokies is Tuesday, August 13. We’ll be checking out historic Civilian Conservation Corps sites in the park as we climb along the Appalachian Trail and make our way to Kephart Prong. This hike is moderate difficulty with a 7.4 miles round trip and 300 feet total elevation gain.

 You must register in advance.

The Classic Hikes of the Smokies series is a fundraiser for Trails Forever, a partnership between Friends of the Smokies and the National Park Service.

Trails Forever funds a full-time trail crew to reconstruct and rehabilitate some of the park’s most impacted trails. In November 2018, the crew completed the two-year restoration of Rainbow Falls Trail and now is restoring Trillium Gap Trail.

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